Women's safety campaigners say reported sexual assaults just 'tip of the iceberg'


Campaigners in Sheffield say there needs to be more education to eradicate the social stigma around sexual assaults and crimes.

It comes in light of the sentencing of Metropolitan police Officer, Wayne Couzens, after he was jailed for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

On Thursday, the 48-year-old was given a whole life sentence for killing Sarah Everard.

Sarah's murder sparked debate about the safety of women, which has long continued.

Jenny Llewellyn is a victim of sexual harassment. She is a co-ordinator at Sheffield's Intersectional feminist group Our Bodies Our Streets. They campaign for safer spaces free from public sexual harassment.


Our Bodies Our Streets held a vigil for Sabina Nessa in Sheffield. Credit: philipleeart

On Sunday, the group held a vigil for Sabina Nessa, the teacher who whose body was found in a London park.

She said the number of rapes and assaults being reported is just the ''tip of the iceberg.''

'I think there is a society stigma around these sorts of crimes, a lot of victim blaming, and there can be a lot of self blame.''

''I think society needs to change, I don't think there's one thing that can be done, there are so many systems that need to change for women to feel and be same.''


Sarah Everard was murdered in Clapham, south London Credit: Family Handout/CPS

Following Wayne Couzens sentencing, The Metropolitan Police recommended people challenge plain-clothes officer operating alone in the wake of Ms Everard's murder.

The then-police officer kidnapped Ms Everard by carrying out a false arrest with his warrant card as she walked home from a friend's house.

They recommend people ask where the officer’s colleagues are, where they have come from, why they are there, and exactly why they are stopping or talking to them. The Met Police also suggest verifying the police officer by asking to hear their radio operator or asking to speak to the radio operator themselves.



Jenny said the police force needs to openly address the issues if they want to rebuild trust.

''I think policing needs to have a look at itself. They need to be more accountable, and acknowledge that in public that there are issues and be quite open and address it if they want to rebuild trust.''

Fundamentally, she believes it is the education across society that needs the most attention.

''We need men to call out behaviour, speak up as well and have those difficult conversations. Whilst men are part of the problem, they can also be a big part of the solution.''